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Newly Installed board members of the Altrusa International of Downtown Dallas Service Club enjoyed an evening of friendship and awards at the Lakewood Country Club Tuesday, May 21. L-R: Tamika Jones Abendroth, Naomi Ayala, Fay Hamden, Judy Porter, Kathleen Scott, Tena Callahan, Michelle Kubits, Karen Washington and Debbie Tull - President 2019-2020.

The BEST way to find yourself is in Service to Others – Ghandi

It is more important to be of service than be successful – Robert Kennedy

Everybody can be Great because ANYBODY can serve - Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

These were the inspiring quotes that began the 2019 Altrusa International of Downtown Dallas Club’s Annual Meeting and Awards Banquet held at the Lakewood Country Club Tuesday evening. May 21. 

The service club has helped raised over $3 million dollars since its inception in 1982 to help women and children in crisis. The current 65 club members consist of Attorneys, judges, CPAs, MBAs and other business executives. Club Vice President of Membership, Attorney Tamika Jones-Abendroth, was the mistress of ceremonies for the evening.

Outgoing Club President Judy Porter, a Lake Highlands resident, was awarded the “Altrusan of the Year” honor by the club’s members for her year of work with the club. She joined Altrusa in 1990 when she was the Volunteer Coordinator of Bryan's House, a home for children with HIV.

Porter was also surprised to earn the “Superstar” award from the Communications Committee for her year-long commitment to publicizing the club’s goal of quality community outreach and service to the city of Dallas. A former high school teacher and coach, Porter runs a PR firm that highlights local heroes, small businesses, non-profits and students in the metroplex. She has been a member of the Oak Cliff Lions Club, Dallas Deanery of Catholic women and has been an Altrusan for 29 years.

Fifth-year Altrusa Club member Monica Urbaniak of Lakewood received the Superstar Award for Service, having volunteered at most of the club'c monthly service projects and contributing to the committee meetings with her ideas and insights. Urbaniak was the founder of the Dallas Rape Crisis center and is now in private practice.

Christina Coultas, also a five-year member, was voted the “Heart of Altrusa,” a coveted award from the club. She worked as the Communications Vice President this year and updated the club’s public website, www.altrusadtd.com this year.

The club met the first Tuesday of each month at the City Club at the Bank of America Building downtown for over three decades but moved this year to the Park City Club located on Sherry Lane. Part of an International service organization, the members help women and children in crisis and promotes literacy.

Last month at the state-wide District Conference held in Grapevine, the Downtown Dallas Club was awarded a $4,000 grant to continue its work with Incarnation House, a safe place for homeless teens to go after school to study and eat dinner. Altrusans served dinner to the teens again Monday, the night before the awards banquet.

The Club members also donate to the Reagan Lorenzen Scholarship Fund, in the name of a former beloved club president, which provides scholarships to first-generation college students graduating from the Irma Rangel Leadership School for Girls. Nine scholarships of $1,000 each were awarded this month to nine graduates of the DISD school.

Meals on Wheels, Shared Housing, HRI and Aberg Literacy are a few of the many non-profits Altrusa of Downtown Dallas pairs up with to make the City of Dallas a better place to work and live.

Members come from a variety of backgrounds and careers, and invite any one interested in serving the Dallas Community to come to a Monthly lunch to learn more. See the club’s website www.altrusadtd.com or Facebook page for more information, or text 972-880-5571.

 

“Love ought to consist of deeds more than words.” - St. Ignatius Loyola

ONLY a life lived in service to others is worth living – Albert Einsten

 

2018-2019 Outgoing Club Officers Honored:

Judy Porter, MBA, President

Deborah Tull, President Elect

Naomi Ayala, Vice President Fundraising

Christina Coultas, Vice President Communications

Tamika Jones Abendroth, Vice President Membership

Karen Washington, Vice President Services

Lee Dorsett, Parliamentarian

Karen Zahaluk, Secretary

Kim Abmeyer, Treasurer

Nicole LeBoeuf, Past President

 

 

2019-2020 CLUB OFFICERS Installed May 21, 2019

Deborah Tull, CPA, President

Karen Washington, President Elect

Naomi Ayala, Vice President Fundraising

Fay Hamdan, Vice President Communications

Amy Gavigan, Vice President Membership

Tamika Jones Abendroth, Vice President Services

Kathleen Scott, Parliamentarian

Tena Callahan, Secretary

Michelle Kubitz, Treasurer

Judy Porter, MBA, Past President

           

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New Executive Director of the Dallas County Republican Party Joel James works hard behind the scenes to give the citizens of Dallas a great place to live, and qualified candidates to vote for. A servant-leader, he prefers to promote others--to get them elected to the perfect office to match their skills--to help the local government run smoothly, rather than to seek an office for himself.

New Executive Director of the Dallas County Republicans is Young and Enthusiastic -- Welcome Back Joel James!

The new Executive Director of the Dallas County Republican Party is returning to the office he worked out of last year off Forest Lane as a Republican Party of Texas Field Operations Director. Based out of the Lake Highlands area office, he helped with canvassing, phone banking, and volunteering throughout the DFW area for over a year. He was promoted to a position in Austin before returning to the Dallas area in January to work on a local campaign for Dallas City Mayor. Prior to moving to Dallas, Joel was in Atlanta Georgia working for a small lobbying firm for two years.

The youngest of four boys, Joel has two older brothers: Garth, who lives in Georgia, and Mahlon who lives close to Mar a Lago. Joel's twin brother Chris--who is two minutes older--is an accountant in Atlanta. All the boys graduated from Sprayberry H.S in Marietta, Georgia. Both Joel’s parents, Selvyn and Laura Mae, are nurses, and they met in church in Jamaica.

He earned his Political Science degree from Kennesaw State in Georgia and is one class short of a master’s in Public Policy from Liberty University in Virginia.

Why is he working for the Republican party? “George W Bush. He’s my favorite president – a compassionate conservative, a rugged individualist, and his policies, like the No Child Left Behind Act. He’s one of my heroes! He and Colin Powell.” Joel was in high school when “W” was president and has been interested in politics ever since. 

One of his favorite TV shows growing up was The West Wing, and he admired Dule’ Hill who played the personal presidential aid in the series. His favorite actor today is academy-award winner Mahershala Ali who just won his second Academy Award for “Green Book and plays Remy on House of Cards.

Want to learn more about local politics? You can contact Joel at Joel@dallasgop.org or call him: 214-369-9555.

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While very few young adults in their 20's vote, Sydnee Heim not only worked as a "temporary" block walker during the last election, she has been hired to work full time now in the Dallas County Republican Party office, proving there is life after an election for block walkers who are determined to make a difference.

Temporary Block Walker Becomes a Permanent Lake Highlands Resident, Works to keep Dallas County Great!

Ever wonder where all those block walkers for candidates go after the election is over?

For Sydnee Heim, it’s a permanent position here in Dallas. Sydnee moved into Lake Highlands and started a new job as the Office Manager and Communications Assistant for the Dallas County Republican Party. She says she’s excited about the opportunity and loves the energy of the office – especially trying to keep up with the energy of DCRP Chairwoman Missy Shorey.

Sydnee was born and raised in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, which she proudly points out is the “same birthplace as Ted Cruz!” She attended Calgary Christian School and graduated from Hillsdale College with a Bachelor of Arts in Politics.

She first became interested in politics over a decade ago during the 2008 presidential election, because her mother was an avid watcher of Fox News. Sydnee caught the political bug; her first job out of college was block walking for Congressman Pete Olson's campaign in the 2018 Republican Primary. 

Because of her career choice, few people know she is a classically trained opera singer and she’s performed in many community and school productions. Sydnee admires Condoleezza Rice particularly because of this shared interest in both politics and music (Rice is a classically trained concert pianist.) 

Although her time is spent mostly at the office, answering the phone and providing information and working on the weekly DCRP newsletter, she also gets out into the community. On Saturday, January 19, she was out in the frigid cold weather at the Annual Garland Martin Luther King Jr. parade, handing out candy with her co-workers from the DCRP to the children along the parade route. Although she's used to the cold temperatures and snow in Canada, she was bundled up against the 25-mile-an-hour wind gusts like her native Texan friends, and happy to head inside to warm up when the hour-long parade ended.

Back home in Canada Sydnee has a menagerie of animals including two Croatian Mountain Dogs named Gus and Thor, two barn cats and three miniature goats. But no GOP elephant, which wouldn’t fit in the family barn, so she settles for a stuffed one that'll you'll find on her desk at headquarters.

Interested in learning more about Sydnee’s home town in Canada or how to get involved in local politics? Contact Sydnee at the DCRP office: (214) 369-9555 or sydnee@dallasgop.org 

 

 

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Past Oak Cliff Lions Club President Durhl Caussey ceremoniously passed the giant gavel to the next past president, Steve Bayless, at the Installation of the new President, Anastasia Semos-Shelton and her Board of Directors of the Oak Cliff Lions Club on June 28th. Caussey was the president of the club in 2013-2014. The current Chair of Precinct #4050 for the Republican party, he's been a life long volunteer in both service organizations and politics since returning from two tours in Vietnam as a young man. He is grateful to be living in America.

Native Texan, Vietnam Vet, Life-long Volunteer, Professor Durhl Caussey is a Leader in Multiple Arenas, and a Proud American

As a young boy Durhl Caussey wanted to grow up to be a Cowboy like Roy Rogers. But a funny thing happened on that Happy Trail to singing fame and fortune: he became a professor, a Lions Club President, and a well-respected Republican Precinct Chair.

Born in tiny Seymour, Texas, Durhl lived out in the country and worked in cotton and wheat fields as a boy. He’s also lived in Abilene, Holliday, Fort Worth, Oak Cliff and Duncanville.

He graduated from Seymour High in 1965, then Abilene Christian College in 1970 with a BS in Education and then returned to Abilene Christian University for a Masters in 1971. After college he did some PhD work at UNT in Denton. Durhl says he reads constantly, everything from newspapers to magazines to books. And, he says, “I have learned a lot from my students, ranging from elementary students and Special Ed kids to college undergrad and graduate students.”

And he is no newcomer to politics. In 1960 in Texas, Durhl supported John F. Kennedy. Then in 1968 he supported Richard Nixon, “and have voted Republican and been active in the party since then.”

He’s spent many years working toward a greater America, because, “I love this country and its values; served in military since ROTC in college, did two tours in Vietnam. Freedom isn’t free; I stay involved in politics to preach this message to future generations.” He is currently the Republican Precinct Chair of his area.

The way to be successful in politics is simple: “Hard work and education are key ingredients.” A professor of history at Mountain View College, Durhl says, “I implore younger people to stay in school. I worked my way through college and believe in lifelong learning. I am also very tenacious.”

His life hasn’t been all hard work and studying, however. His wife, JoAnn Holt Caussey, works in Public Relations and so he’s enjoyed meeting plenty of celebrities, from Tony Curtis to Ann Margret, Jim Nabors, Larry Gatlin, and “Top Gun” actor Val “Iceman” Kilmer, among many others.  And through his Republican party contacts he’s met numerous politicians and six U.S. presidents.

For fun, Durhl collects coins and stamps, focusing on ancient coins and Confederate currency.

Durhl says he’s taught all his adult life and about 20 years ago started writing general interest columns for newspapers.  He enjoys writing about cars, sports, outdoor events and he’s currently working on a book. He still writes a column for his hometown newspaper and others in Texas. He also writes for an international publication, The Epoch Times, that translates his column into many different languages.

He said he got through the toughest time of his life--two tours in Vietnam and going through a divorce after 20 years of marriage—through prayer, and in Vietnam, “from listening to my sergeants.” And he never gave up. “I surrounded myself with good people; stayed in church and asked God to help me through it.”

He met the love of his life, Jo Ann Holt-Caussey, in the grocery store. It was hardly romantic: “We met when I followed her up and down the grocery aisles one Sunday afternoon in 1997, at an Albertson’s in Duncanville where I had a part-time job on weekends to supplement my teaching salary. She finally invited me to church the next Sunday morning, and to her surprise, I showed up. We dated 11 years, and finally married 10 years ago in August.”

Durhl is proud of his three grown children and five grandchildren. His kids are married and have families: Chad Caussey, 43, a chiropractor in Dallas; daughter Erica Caussey Unrau, 40, works in day care; youngest son Christopher 35, teaches American History at Coppell High School and is active in the Republican Party. “Every year we attend the State Convention together,” Durhl says.

What does the future hold? “In 10 years I’ll be 81 years old and hope to stay healthy and live a long, active life.” Durhl plans to keep writing car columns and general interest columns as long as he can and hopes to finish his book in five years and write more.

Maybe his second book will be about a singing cowboy who travels across Texas, teaching students along the way about what a great country it is that they live in.

 

Judy Porter writes about local heroes and nonprofits. Contact her at judy-porter@sbcglobal.net

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James Duncan is living the American Dream: after years of hard work, he is an expert in his field of computer technology and repair--and he's his own boss!

Local small business man uses his expertise to help others  

“The more you operate in areas of skill and influence, the more successful you will become — responsible for your actions, engaging in helpful interactions, radiating positive energy.” Lily Mccann, Business Guru.

Born in Dallas, James grew up in Dallas, Waco, San Antonio, Bandera, and Kerrville, and dreamed of being an astronaut or pilot.

He graduated from Tivy High School in Kerrville and went on to El Centro College to obtain an Associates in Computer Science then on to UTD for a BS in Economics and Finance. He’s been back to college to study courses in Small Business and Real Estate.

During the early 90’s he was doing well financially and then… the dot.com bust came and he, like so many, lost almost everything he had saved. He admitted that was the toughest time of his life, “starting over after the tech crash depleted all my savings.”

But that wasn’t the most dangerous time of his life. That came when he was 35 and on a trip to east coast of Florida. James was in water up to his neck, looking back at the beach, when he had a feeling he needed to turn around. “When I did I saw a shark--still a ways off--but coming at me with its mouth open.” Did he panic? “Let’s just say I immediately got back to the beach as fast as possible.”

Just like he got back to work as fast as possible after his savings were lost. A friend suggested he quit the corporate world and do what he’s good at: fixing computer problems and helping people with their other tech devices.

Why would anyone want to troubleshoot computers all day? James says he does what he does because, “I like to help people who need and appreciate it. And I like being my own boss and creating my own schedule.” Because he’s good at most anything technical, he can fix just about any computer issue, and he’s happy to come to you, the customer, at your home or small business, so he’s not stuck at a desk all day.

He’s almost like the magician David Copperfield, whom he’s met: he can surprise folks by magically fixing their computers they thought were dead or beyond repair. He is an expert at removing Viruses and Malware too.

Having also worked on some Digital Marketing and E-Commerce projects, he knows about online marketing, websites, social media, and securing your online accounts, including crypto currency accounts. He says, “I am always studying to keep up with the latest technology.”

He knows it’s “nerdy” work but, like the Taylor Swift song—someone he’d love to meet -- he just ‘shakes it off’ when he’s dubbed a Geek. In fact, he embraces the term. His “Geek on the Go” business began with referrals from friends, and he says he “just took it one day at a time and, trusted in the higher power to get me through.” His business serves Dallas, Plano, Garland, Mesquite, Richardson, Carrollton, Addison, Farmers Branch, Irving, Park Cities, but he stays close to his home in uptown. “I do NOT go to Arlington, Rockwall, or north of Hwy 121.”

And where will he be in ten years?  “Probably in Dallas unless some amazing opportunity opens up for me elsewhere.” As long as that opportunity doesn’t come with shark-infested waters, this ‘Geek’ will be on the go wherever he is needed.

 

James has been doing On-Site tech support in private homes and small businesses by Appointment for 12 years.
Call his scheduling service at 214-766-9208

Website: www.dfwgeekonthego.com

His expertise includes: 

Computer Repair and Home Technology Specialist
Microsoft Certified Professional, A+, Network+
The Underground Shopper "Top 100"
Angie's List 2010 Thru 2017 Super Service Awards
Top Ratings on Google, Yelp and Facebook

Judy Porter writes about local heroes and nonprofits in the metroplex. Contact her at judy-porter@sbcglobal.net

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College Scholarship recipient Lola Rodriguez credits her strong and loving Mother, Virginia, for her success. Lola was accepted to every college she applied to, and will attend the University of Dallas this fall on a full tuition scholarship, to earn a degree in Biology and go on to Med school. She plans to become a pediatrician. Lola will be the first in her family to go to college.

Community Volunteer Lola Rodriguez Cares for Others, Earns Full Tuition Scholarship to College

Oak Cliff senior Dolores “Lola” Rodriguez is about to graduate from Bishop Dunne High School and head northwest on a full tuition college scholarship. She will be the first in her family to go to college.

Born in Dallas, she was raised by a single mom, Virginia Aranda, and has two sisters: Celina Aranda, 28, and Sarah Rodriguez, 11; and one brother, Alex Rodriguez, age 13.

Lola has known from childhood what she wanted to be when she grew up: A Pediatrician, to help others, “because of my passion for science and children.”

She’s on her way this fall. Accepted to every college she applied to, she will be attending the University of Dallas on a full tuition scholarship, named after another Bishop Dunne and UD graduate, Deacon Paul Wood, who still works at her high school.

Her back up schools include: Loyola University of Chicago, Texas A&M-Texarkana, Our Lady of the Lake University, Texas Woman’s University, University of Mary-Hardin Baylor, Houston Baptist University, Dallas Baptist University, St. Mary’s University-San Antonio, St. Edward’s University and The University of Oklahoma.

Her goal is to complete her undergrad degree in Biology and head off to Medical school to receive a M.D. degree. She says, “While doing this I will be completing internships, community service, research opportunities, and shadowing different physicians in my desired field at clinics and/or hospitals. I will perform residency in Pediatrics while also conducting research.”

Everyone who knows Lola expects her goals to be achieved just as she has planned. She is extremely dedicated to helping others and says, “Dedication is key because if you offer to help someone, you need to show up. Your passion for service must be joined by your dependability.”

Lola has volunteered the past four years at The North Texas Food Bank and St. Elizabeth of Hungary Catholic School, where she graduated from and where her mother continues to work in the pre-k classroom. Lola says, “My dedication to these two non-profits has been ongoing since I was a freshman: preparing meals at NTFB or tutoring at St. Elizabeth’s--feeding the body and mind; feeding hungry people I may never meet and instructing young children who need a little bit of encouragement to keep learning, get good grades, for a good life.”

Raised by her strong and loving mother, Lola says, “I kept my head held high and listened to my mother’s encouraging words.” Lola learned to rely more on herself and says she has grown to become an independent strong woman.

As she prepares to take her Final Exams, Lola looks forward to her graduation on May 25th. Her summer will undoubtedly be filled with more service to others, and she may see the new documentary on the Pope, because he is the one famous person she would love to meet.

Ten years from now, “I plan to live in Dallas still and will run my own medical practice here,” she says. But she also plans to manage her time, so she can serve children in third world countries.

Although she says she was shy as a child, she grew bold enough to resurrect the long-defunct Color Guard for her Falcon High School Band two years ago, and even became its Captain this past year. She had no dance experience and just decided to do it because the school's band director mentioned it. That takes guts, determination and enthusiasm. Lola has all three. 

As she heads off to college this fall, Lola is ready to take on the world in a big way: as a role model for her younger brother and sister, as a tutor, as a volunteer to the hungry and, one day soon, a pediatrician in the city of Dallas.

 

Judy Porter writes about local heroes, non-profits and small businesses in Dallas. Contact her at judy-porter@sbcglobal.net

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Altrusa Downtown Club Member and artist Danah Moore helps a student from DISD choose a gift for her mother at the Kids U Mother's Day Shopping Spree on Thursday, May 10. Altrusa of Downtown Dallas has supported the Kids U Afterschool program for years, along with a dozen other non-profit agencies in Dallas. New Altrusa Club members are always welcome.

Altrusa club members encourage reading, aid 45 children with their Mother's Day Gifts

Altrusa International of Downton Dallas Service Club completed their year of service for 2017-2018 on Thursday, May 10, when a dozen women from the club helped 45 children from low-income families choose gifts for their mothers for Mother’s Day.

The children attend DISD schools and are part of “Kids U,” an afterschool program promoting literacy among children from low-income families. The students were in kindergarten through 6th grade. Each child read a number of books throughout the school year to earn “Altrusa dollars” to shop with.

Handbags, jewelry, body lotions and scented candles were provided in quantity for the children to choose from. Each got to pick three items for their mothers. The gifts were then combined and wrapped in brightly colored tissue paper and put in pretty gift bags. A gift tag, colored by each child with their names on them, were attached to the gifts.

Altrusa is a club of professional women and men who choose to combine their efforts to volunteer together to promote literacy and help women and children in crisis. The Downtown Dallas Club is beginning it's 36th year on June 1st.

In addition to Kids U, the club members have worked with a dozen agencies this year, include Aberg Literacy; Bar None; Attitudes and Attire (helping women get back into the work force); Big Thought; Literacy Achieves; Meals on Wheels; Shared Housing; and Irma Rangel Leadership Academy, where a dozen seniors received scholarships to attend college—most of whom are the first in their families to go to college.

The international organization began in Nashville, Tennessee, in 1917 and is much like the Kiwanis Club. It was created when women weren’t allowed to join the all-male club. The Downtown Dallas Club began in 1982, a spin-off of the Dallas Club, which meets in the evening.

The Downtown chapter meets at noon for lunch on the first Tuesday of each month in the City Club on the 69th floor of the Bank of America Building on Main street. Additional evening meetings are held throughout the year, typically close to downtown. This past year the club met at Season’s 52 NorthPark and Highland Park Cafeteria in Casa Linda Plaza for the evening meetings. A speaker from a local non-profit or government agency updates the members on new programs the Altrusans might volunteer in. City Manager T C Broadnax spoke at a luncheon this year, and local celebrities like Sportscaster Dale Hanson or Investigative Reporter Brett Shipp have also shared their insights with the Altrusa Club members.

Members are asked to serve 20 hours of volunteering each year, but many do much more. Attorney, judges, CPAs, College Presidents, business owners and business entrepreneurs are a part of the club which currently has over 50 members. Prospective members are always welcome.

The Annual End of the Year Celebration is this Tuesday evening at Lakewood Country Club. Awards for the most hours served, the Altrusan of the Year and the Heart of Altrusa are awarded.

Attorney Nicole LeBoeuf will be stepping down as president and Public Relations business owner Judy Porter, MBA, will be installed as the new President for the 2018-19 year, along with her Board of Directors. Debbie Tull, CPA, will be installed as president-elect for 2019-2020.

Anyone interested in volunteering with other professionals to help women and children in crisis and promote literacy are invited to attend a future meeting. New transplants to Dallas are welcome and encouraged to meet the members of Altrusa to make new friends and begin or expand their professional network.

To find out more or to attend a lunch or evening meeting contact Tamika Jones Abendroth, Vice President of Membership for 2018-2019 at: tja76@hotmail.com or text 972-880-5571.

 

Judy Porter is a local writer and has been a member of Altrusa since 1990. To contact her: judy-porter@sbcglobal.net

 

 

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A former District Attorney, Larry Miller has spent most of his life quietly volunteering behind the scenes to help keep Dallas County a safe and wonderful place to live. He has met many legendary Texans, including a president who has a highway loop around Dallas named after him: LBJ.


Former DA, Husband, Father, Grandfather, Presidential Driver for LBJ

Larry Miller has been both a Democrat and a Republican, but always a caring and concerned American, willing to jump in and help others. His ongoing volunteering has had him meet a number of interesting individuals, including driving a President around in Texas.

Larry remembers, "When I was serving as the Democrat District Attorney in Greenville (technically, the 196th Judicial District Court), we planned a fund-raising session for Democrat Congressman Ray Roberts.  Congressman Roberts invited his longtime friend, former president Lyndon Baines Johnson, to fly to Greenville from Johnson City, Texas where he lived.  I was asked to meet him at the airport. I drove a borrowed vehicle, my wife Judy sat in the middle next to me and President Johnson sat to her right in the front.  In the back seat was a Secret Service agent and then-congressman Jack Brooks from Beaumont, Texas.  What a thrill for Judy and me."

Larry has had a pretty thrilling life volunteering in campaigns, running for office, raising a family and now as a Republican Chair of district #1081.

Larry was born in Greenville, Texas, in Hunt County and was raised in there. He graduated from Greenville High School, then attended East Texas State University (what is now Texas A&M - Commerce) for one year and transferred into Baylor University, Waco, Texas his sophomore year. He received a Bachelor of Arts Degree and a commission in the Air Force through ROTC as a Second Lieutenant.  The Air Force allowed Larry to attend the University of Texas Law School, Austin, law school where received the Doctor of Jurisprudence Degree before going on active duty.
 
Larry served in the Air Force as a Special Agent in the Office of Special Investigations (OSI).  While attending OSI school in Washington, DC and living at Andrews Air Force Base, President Kennedy was killed in Dallas and his body was flown to Andrews AFB where he remembers he stood by the fence observing the arrival of Air Force One.

Larry began his political career as District Attorney of Hunt County, then was elected County Attorney for Hunt and Greenville. Once a Democrat, he says "about the time Texas Governor John Connally became a Republican, I switched too."

Now a key member of the Dallas County Republican Party's Minority Engagement Committee, he is an encouraging force behind the scenes, working to make Dallas County a better place to live for all, including his two grown sons, their wives, his five grandchildren and his wife of 42 years, Judy. His dedication to his city and all of Dallas county surprises no-one.

Larry's engaging smile and warm personality makes him a popular leader in whatever he chooses to do.

To learn more about the Minority Engagement Committee he's a big part of, contact the DCRP headquarters at: info@dallasgop.org
(214) 369-9555

11617 N. Central Expressway, Suite 240
Dallas, Texas 75243

 

Judy Porter lives in Dallas and writes stories about local heroes, non profits and small businesses. Contact her at: judy-porter@sbcglobal.net

 



 

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At "the Top of the World" on a trip to New York City, for over two decades Patti Clapp has been a grass roots volunteer. She has served the Dallas community at the Dallas Regional Chamber as Director of Leadership Development and Vice President of Education. As the Director of Leadership Development she led the revitalization of Leadership Dallas, a program that has created some of the city's best community leaders. She has been active in politics too, and was just named the Ballot Board Chair for the Dallas County Republican Party.

Patti Clapp: Wife, Mother, Community Leader, Cancer Survivor, Ballot Board Chair

For nearly 24 years, Patti Clapp served the Dallas Regional Chamber in a variety of critical roles, from Director of Leadership Development to Vice President of Education. As the Director of Leadership Development, she led the revitalization of Leadership Dallas which contributed to the continued success of one of the DRC’s most significant programs. A scholarship to Leadership Dallas was established in her honor.

In addition to her work with the chamber, Patti has had numerous leadership roles for decades in the political arena, and was just named the Ballot Board Chair for the Dallas County Republican Party, a key role to keep the local elections fair and balanced, encouraging voters to come out and vote.  

Born in Long Beach, California when her Dad was in the Navy, Patti moved with her family to Midwest City, Oklahoma when she was in fifth grade when her father was working with the Veteran’s Association. She high school years in Oklahoma City attending John Marshall High School. 

Patti went on to the University of Oklahoma and graduated with a BA in English. She met her husband Roger, also an OU graduate, just prior to their freshman year at OU. The two moved to Dallas in August of 1966 and will celebrate their 52nd wedding anniversary this August. Roger recently retired as a patent and trademark attorney.

The oldest of four, Patti has two sisters, Toni and Kathy, and a brother Jimmy. Toni and Jimmy live in Oklahoma City and Kathy lives in Tulsa.

Patty grew up wanting to be a teacher and began her career at the Lab School at OU, then at Northwest Classen in Oklahoma City and finally at Florence Junior High in Dallas.  Crazily, she was told by the Human Resources department of the Dallas Independent School District she was “too young and too short to teach in a high school.”

She taught junior high until her first daughter was born in 1968.  She then stayed home, to be her children’s first teacher, and volunteered when she could.  In 1987 Patti went to work for the Dallas Chamber of Commerce which is now the Dallas Regional Chamber. She worked there for over two decades, overseeing public policy, education, healthcare, leadership development. She eventually served as Vice President until August 2011 when she retired.

Staying home to raise her three children when they were young certainly paid off; Patti is proud of daughter Julie Clapp, the National Director of Wyldlife who lives in Dallas; son Doug Clapp, married to Sarah, Professor of the Classics at Samford University in Birmingham, father of her grandchildren Annie (4) and Nora (3); and daughter Catherine Stansberry, married to Brad, a partner with KPMG, who lives in New York City and is the mother of Timothy, (16), Elizabeth (14), Caroline (12) and Claire (8).

Patti had an Old English Sheepdog named Tuppence when the kids were young, but says, “Now we get our pet comfort when we visit our daughters, and see Old English, in Brooklyn, in NYC.”

Patty is a life-long volunteer and says, “I believe in giving back to my community and have spent my life volunteering and leading organizations that help in the community.”

She served for fifteen years on the Richardson School Board, chaired Tejas Girl Scout Council Board and their Foundation, Chair the Friends of the Dallas Public Library, served on the Board of Visitors for the College of Arts and Sciences at OU, and is serving her second term now as Vice President on the Texas Board of Nursing, appointed by Gov, Perry and reappointed by Gov Abbott.  She was appointed by Governor Bush to the Trinity River Authority and reappointed to that Board by Governor Perry.  Patti has served as a precinct chair since the mid-seventies:Patti has volunteered on a full-time basis as chair of precinct organization for the Dallas County Republican Party under Fred Meyer, and her husband also served as chair of Ballot Security for Fred Meyer.

If this sounds like hard work, Patti loves it. She admits the most fun time she had was speaking at an education conference at Texas A& M.  “The speakers had lunch in their apartment with President and Barbara Bush.  There were about eight of us and the meal and conversation were wonderful.”

Patti played the clarinet all through high school, and still has it in her home, but says, “I doubt if I could play an on key note today!”

She also reads constantly. And she says, “Roger and I love to travel. Several of our favorite places are Cape Breton Island in Nova Scotia during the fall to enjoy their Celtic Music Festival. And the Biltmore Inn at Asheville, anytime of the year.” She also loves San Francisco, but adds, “except for the politics – I love the scenery.”

Although she keeps a positive outlook on life, Patti has also had setbacks. The toughest one was when she was diagnosed with Stage 3 colon cancer in 1997.  “I had no symptoms and was suddenly faced with surgery, chemo and radiation. My husband and my children and friends were the support that helped me through that time.” She explains, We took one day at a time.  I went back to work while attached to my chemo fanny pack and we cherished each day.”  Patti became involved in the American Cancer Society chairing its Dallas Board and becoming a spokesperson for colon cancer screening. 

Patti has lived all over the Dallas area, from Snyder Plaza (while Roger attended SMU Law School) to Lake Highlands after his graduation in 1969, to their current home in Royal Highlands which they built in 1975.

In five years Patti says she hopes to be happily “enjoying our children, grandchildren and my community” --the Community that Patti helped build. 

 

Patti Clapp can be contacted at: pclapp11@yahoo.com For more information on her new position in the Republican Party see: www.dallasgop.org or the Dallas County Republican Facebook Page.

 

Judy Porter lives in Dallas and writes about local heroes and non-profits. Contact her to write your story: judy-porter@sbcglobal.net.

 

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Aaron and Debra Meek are a typical couple raising two kids and occasionally enjoying a family vacation like this one to Disneyland in 2016. Debra works at her church in Student and College Ministries, along with volunteering at multiple local agencies to help everyone from elderly widows to low-income children--and now as Campaign Manager for her husband, Aaron, running for Dallas County Sheriff.

Wife, Mother, Volunteer, Campaign Manager Debra Carroll Meek is an Inspiration!

Quiet, gentle, and patient like her last name, Debra Meek is a champion for others.

A Native Texan, Debra loves her life behind the scenes helping those who need her.

Born in Cleburne, she was raised in Athens, Corsicana, Irving and The Colony before she moved to Cedar Hill where she’s lived since she got married at the age of 21.

Debra grew up with her sister Amy Carroll (Nash) and attended Shady Grove Christian Academy in Grand Prairie, where she decided what she wanted to be when she grew up: a teacher.

She attended Dallas County Community College after graduating high school, but along the way bumped into a man who would change the course of her life.

“I was tagging along with a friend who was going out with a group of classmates on a Friday night before they all went back to college,” Debra says. “And at dinner I ended up spilling an entire glass of tea in front of Aaron -- which is why he always moves my glass at the table!”

Her clumsiness and subsequent apology charmed Aaron, who realized Debra’s innate kindness immediately. The two were soon a couple and then married. Sixteen years later, she is now mother of two, Bobby Joe, 14, and Katie Belle, 12, and her “favorite” child, 90-pound lap dog Mac.

Although she took a break from her University studies to marry and raise children (she plans to return to college one day soon) Debra is currently a Ministry Assistant for the Student & College Ministries at Hillcrest Baptist Church, as well as helping run her husband’s campaign for Sheriff. 

Debra never dreamed of a future in politics, but that is exactly where she is today, managing her husband’s quest to become the next Dallas County Sheriff. Her weekends are filled with activities that includes family life, church ministry and campaign stops.

It’s a lot. Last weekend she was directing multiple projects and dozens of volunteers including cleaning and organizing the Bridges Safe House, and the Tri-City Animal Shelter; planting flowers at Crescent Place Memory Care Unit; working at two widows’ homes from her church; and supervising the sewing ministry at her church along with a couple of projects that needed to be done in the Student Building.

Debra knows it’s a crazy schedule, but says, “I do what I do because I LOVE what I do, and God has placed these callings on my life.” She explains, “Whether it’s being a wife, mom, cookie/cake lady, costume maker, embroidery lady, serving at church, campaign manager and whatever else is thrown my way, my biggest joy is seeing the smiles on the faces of those I am honored to have the opportunity to serve.”

She prefers to help others and stay out of the spotlight.  “I don’t want the attention.  I just want to serve and support those who need it most.”

When she’s not directing dozens of volunteers, baking, sewing or campaigning with her husband, Debra admits “I love to read--even though I don’t have a lot of time to do it these days! I also LOVE anything crafty, and baking is a huge stress reliever for me--a form of therapy you could say.”

Where will she be in ten years? She hopes her pastor is right. He recently called her “Mrs. Sheriff,” a title she’ll earn when Aaron becomes Sheriff of Dallas County, should his campaign be successful.

Debra is ready to support Aaron in her role as “Mrs. Sheriff” as she has supported him since the day they got married.  “I love doing all the things I currently do and unless God lays it on my heart to stop, I’ll continue.  It’s who I am.”

Her family, neighbors, church friends and volunteers are glad to hear it—and will be right there beside her as she continues her whirlwind of helping others and making the world a better place.

"Everybody can be great, because anybody can serve." -- Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. 

To learn more about Debra and Aaron Meek see the website:  https://voterguide.dallasnews.com/2018-primary/candidates/242/